Walsall's Andy Butler out to wreck Wolves' record bid

Wolves would do well to beware a wounded Walsall tomorrow. They’d also do well to beware Andy Butler.

Goalscorer Andy Butler of Walsall celebrates at full time
Andy Butler

It was the Saddlers skipper who got the winner at Molineux earlier this season, a close range header which enshrined his place in club history.

Nobody in WS1 has forgotten it, not least Butler, who raises a wry smile when the goal – which wasn’t his first at the ground – is brought up once again.

“It’s a good memory,” he said. “I had scored there before for Scunthorpe, so I did say before I got there I was going to score. It was a great game for everyone.

“I think we could have scored more than one if we are honest.

“But it’s a different game now. They will be looking at us and seeing how we play. It’s up to us to break them down.”

Walsall were deserved winners on that September night yet the third encounter this term – Wolves having won the opening Johnstone’s Paint Trophy clash on penalties – finds the rivals seemingly headed down very different paths.

The disjointed, uncertain Wolves of the early season has been replaced by a well-oiled machine which looks, at least to the outside world, ready to cruise on to the League One crown after a run of seven successive wins and five clean sheets

Walsall, by contrast, are scratching around looking for a foothold as they look to prevent a plummet down and away from the play-off places.

But Butler believes they should take heart from Wednesday night’s performance at Coventry, if not the result, while the captain also draws strength from their reputation as record spoilers.

Dean Smith’s side became the first team to take points off Leyton Orient after they had won their opening eight games, while they denied Brentford what would have been a club record equalling seventh successive win in January when they held the Bees to a 1-1 draw.

Wolves arrive at the Banks’s looking to equal their own club mark.

“It has to come to and end sometime hasn’t it?” said Butler “Why not against us?

“We seem to be the team who break these runs. We are looking forward to it and we’ll be going for it.

“People have said we have stopped a few teams now. We beat Wolves at their place, so they are there to be shot at.

“We know they didn’t concede a goal last month but we are at our place now and if we play like we did at their place, we’ll do well.”

Publicy at least, the Saddlers are putting on a brave front following the six-game winless run.

And Butler believes it is only a matter of time before their luck changes for the better, if they stick to their principles.

“It’s not hard to stay upbeat because of the way we have played,” he said.

“We played really well at Coventry on Wednesday and I see it day-in, day-out on the training pitch.

“We can turn this mini-blip into a good run. Nobody is down in the dressing room.

“Obviously the results have gone against us but we just have to keep grafting and learning more about the game.”

“It’s little things which are hurting us but it’s just how you react to those things now.”

And Butler also knows there would be no better way to get on track than a win against Wolves.

He added: “I suppose most people expect them to win but then most people expected them to win at their place.

“The pressure is on them. They are their form team so we’re looking forward to it.

“We always relish a challenge.”